DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICAL & STATISTICAL SCIENCES
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA


MATHEMATICAL BIOLOGY SEMINAR

 

 Dr. Bernard Roitberg

Behavioural Ecology Research Group
Simon Fraser University

 

MONDAY NOVEMBER 24, 2003.

3:00-4:00 p.m.

CAB 657


The Importance of Behavior to Malaria Epidemiology

 

Abstract:

 

Malaria is one of the most serious diseases ever inflicted upon humankind. 

After briefly introducing the sociological and biological parameters of malaria, I briefly review SIR (Susceptible, Infected, Recovered) differential equation based models of vector-borne diseases. I then home in on one key parameter, biting heterogeneity and ask how important mosquito behavior is to biting heterogeneity and of consequence, malaria epidemiology. In particular, I will discuss biting persistence (the tendency of a female mosquito to seek a second blood meal when initial meals are incomplete) and second the risk to predation associated with sudden weight gain from blood feeding.  For the former, I develop a stochastic dynamic programming model to identify optimal persistence decisions and in the latter I use manipulative lab experiments.  Finally, I extend the persistence model to determine dynamic irritability in blood feeding mosquitoes and then test predictions from this model. 

Together, these works move us away from the “mosquitoes as flying syringes” mass action models and toward dynamic diseases models that incorporate mosquitoes as decision-making organisms.